Leah Sharibu turns 17 in captivity—6 Nigerian Christian girls taken in 4 weeks

May 14, 2020 by Lindy Lowry in Africa

Kidnapped from a girls finishing school in the northern Nigerian town of Dapchi, Leah Sharibu spends her 17th birthday in Boko Haram captivity. Since February 2018 when Islamic extremists attacked the school and carried off her and more than 100 others, Leah has lived in a lockdown of a different kind.

Parents of Leah Sharibu: Rebecca and Nathan

Since then, Leah’s story continues to be told. When the other girls were released through backchannel efforts, Leah was the only one who didn’t return home because she refused to say the Muslim prayers.

But I’m a Christian,” she told one of her classmates who later shared that day the girls had tried to teach her the Muslim prayers. “She refused to say them.”

One of our country directors recently shared, “She is so young, yet she is one of the bravest people I’ve ever heard about.”

Christian kidnappings key to Islamization

Kidnappings of young women for forceful Islamization and marriage is endemic to northern Nigeria. According to the Hausa Christian foundation (HACFO), in less than four weeks (from March 23 to April 30, 2020), six Christian girls and one married woman have been abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and illegally married off in three states of northern Nigeria.

In Kaduna State, five Christian girls were abducted and converted to Islam; two were rescued and two remain in captivity. One girl was abducted, forced to convert Islam in Kano State and one married woman, a mother of two, was kidnapped in Katsina State. Her Christian marriage was nullified, and she is now being forced to convert to Islam, about to be married to a Muslim.

Continue to pray for Leah and our other sisters targeted for their faith

  • Pray that the Lord brings Leah home in His time. Pray that the government will secure release for Leah and all other Nigerians held captive.
  • Ask Him to place angels around them—that their captors would see a heavenly army standing guard and protecting these women who have chosen to follow Jesus.
  • Pray for strength and assurance that God is with them, holding them tight. One day, we’ll hear how their Savior miraculously held them in the shadow of His wing.
  • Pray that God will use Leah’s faith and others to stir the spirits of these extremist commanders and soldiers to see who the true ruler is.
  • Please pray for grace and peace for Leah’s father Nathan, her mother Rebecca and her brother Donald.
  • Pray with them and all of the other families, including parents of 112 still-missing Chibok victims, who are waiting for their loved ones to return.
  • Pray that God would intervene in this increasingly violent situation in West Africa that continues to target intervention in this situation.
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